Working together to find solution

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Cooperation between the City of Cassville, the Barry County Commission, the Cassville R-IV School District and the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) was on display Monday when representatives from each entity were on hand to discuss much needed safety improvements along Highway Y between Cassville High School and Main Street. Discussions were very positive and should lead to changes along the roadway. It's too bad it took the death of a Cassville High School freshman to get the state's attention, but we are grateful for MoDOT's willingness to find a solution quickly.

As a result of the meeting, it appears that MoDOT will begin doing an engineering study along Highway Y, which could lead to construction of sidewalks along one or both sides of the roadway. MoDOT will be funding the study and the school district, city and possibly the county and Flat Creek Road District will be sharing the cost of the project. No cost estimates will be available until the engineering study is complete.

While we wait for the engineering to be done, the school and city will be moving forward to place flashing lights along the roadway and also to reduce the speed limit in the area to 25 miles per hour. MoDOT will also be investigating the possibility of making the intersection of Highway Y and Partridge Drive a three-way stop. Crosswalks were another safety improvement discussed and will be addressed further upon completion of the engineering study.

Monday's meeting produced a positive plan of action with all entities involved pledging their support. As sidewalk plans are forged, local residents living along Highway Y will have the opportunity to be heroes. The city will be asking those landowners to donate an easement for construction of a sidewalk between Partridge Drive and Main Street. We hope those residents will realize the importance of these sidewalks and be part of an effort to make sure another life is not lost along the roadway.

At times like these, strong communities find ways to come together to resolve issues for the betterment of their citizens. In this situation, community leaders are working in tandem for the benefit of our students and their safety. We appreciate the efforts of all parties involved and are glad this problem is being addressed promptly.

We also appreciate the involvement of Phil Hutchens in this matter. Hutchens, a local businessman who represents Barry County on the state Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC), was present at Monday's meeting. Hutchens is very knowledgeable about highway construction issues and is always one to lay his cards on the table and clearly represent the needs of this area. We know Hutchens has been working to get changes made to Highway Y for several years and his attendance at Monday's meeting shows he hasn't quit trying to get the state to take notice of the many transportation needs that exist in Barry County. Hutchens is a good ally to have and we hope he will continue volunteering his time to represent this area.